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What to pack for September trip?

Hello & Happy 4th weekend! I'd love to get some feedback on what types of clothes to take on our upcoming Fall trip. Our dates/locations are:
Sept 8 - 13 Belgium
Sept 14 - 26 - travel down the Rhine & Mosel on a river cruise heading south from Belgium and ending in Bern, Switzerland
Sept 26 - 30 Paris & fly home

Since it's summer now, I'm having trouble thinking of what type & how warm our clothes need to be. I'm thinking it will become cooler the further south we travel (?) & as we move through the month.

Can I bring Capri pants or will it be too cool? Rain jacket plus heavy coat or maybe just some gloves, hat, scarf to add to rain jacket? Boots vs sandals? Or should I bring some of all of these items? We will most likely be checking our bags but will have some clothing items in our carry-on bags to be safe.

The weather charts show temps average between 50 (low) to 65-70 high) for our various stops. To me, that sounds like very pleasant weather but now that it's in the 90's, not sure what to start thinking of for the Fall.

Thanks in advance for your ideas and suggestions!!

Jacque

Posted by
9 posts

I would dress as if in Kansas. It won't be too hot. The winter storms aren't there yet. Just do the usual layer thing. Worst thing that can happen is a wet windy storm. You won't get Indian Summer type weather like you can get in Kansas, OK, and NW Texas (where I grew up). Take a hat. Google and use Wikipedia to check the various countries. Wiki has a nice weather chart of record highs and lows, average weather, and number of rainy days and measurements of rain fall.

Don

Posted by
3265 posts

Personally, I won't wear short sleeves or capris if the temps are under 22-23° C. But I won't break out a heavy coat or jacket until temps dip into the single digits. I think fall weather calls for layers. Basically, I throw in a couple of nice cardigans that I can wear if it's coolish, and an unlined, weatherproof jacket. Mine has a hood for rainy days. I always anticipate at least a few of those.

I only wear boots in winter (in cities). Sandals only in summer. The rest of the time, just shoes. I always pack a scarf or 2 (so versatile), a hat, and a thin pair of gloves.

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks, Don, your comment about our Indian Summers here hits the nail on the head for me! September can really be quite hot here - thanks for that reminder and the sites to check out for more weather info. I love Fall weather but it doesn't seem to last very long in KS before Winter zooms in :).

CJean, Happy Canada Day & thanks for your ideas! I have some really comfy shoes that are a leather Mary Jane style that I think will work great - but I wear them without socks, so not 100% sure about them. I may take those shoes/sandals, a full-enclosed shoe, and some boots (and always some sort of flip flop/easy shoe to slip on/off for the hotel, any swimming or hot tub area, etc.).

Posted by
3789 posts

Well, it is Canada's 150th birthday today and my city is celebrating! So Happy Canada Day or early Happy 4th!
I swear by a good midweight merino cardigan. Add a light rain jacket and for Bern, add a good sized pashmina scarf and you are covered (no pun intended). Depending on how light you travel, take a mix of lightweight and slightly heavier pants (or jeans). A skirt can serve for evening, but also on a warmer day where capris might have served. Takr gloves and hat of they are small and will give you peace of mind....or pick up a pair there if you need them. Then you have a nice souvenir.
I am packing carry on for similar temps but in Spain and later. Nights dip to hight 30s but I have to come home to Ottawa winter. I have sleeveless tops for warm Seville, but otherwise short sleeve shirts, one jeans, two lightweight dress pants (because they wash and dry well, suit a city environment and are as comfy as PJs), maybe one pr of capris. One lighter cardi, merino cardi, walking shoes, walking sandals, dressier rain jacket, pashmina. Perhaps one long sleeve casual top and for dire weather, a compactable down vest. Sometimes I arrive home to -13F
You could consider a quilted, polar fleece or down vest, but certainly not a heavy coat. Layers will be best.

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks Maria & yes, Happy Canada Day!! Thanks for your suggestions - they sound great!! What are your favorite brands for the slacks, the merino cardi & the pashmina? Are they from actual stores or do you get them online? Hope you have a great time in Spain!!

Posted by
9701 posts

I would not plan to bring the capris but I would hold them aside and then pack them at the last minute if temps look to be unseasonably warm.

In general for any European travel I bring 4-5 SS Tee shirts, 1 long sleeve (did not bring it when I traveled in April and had a couple of days I would have been more comfortable with it on!), 3 pr pants, 2 cardigans, 1 rain layer (waterproof). I am not one for sandals - always wear athletic shoes for my aged and terrible feet. I bring 1 or 2 scarves and of course wind up with another one or 2 in the bag coming home, lol!!

I would not bring boots or a heavy coat this time of year. If you are cold natured I would consider bringing a polarfleece or puffy vest that squishes down to nothing. That over a cardie and long sleeves with the rain layer would take me to pretty low temps.

Two years ago I was in Paris in mid-Oct. By then I was comfortable in a cashmere sweater (Land's End has some decent prices) in the AMs but was in shirt sleeves by afternoon.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
193 posts

Thank you Pam!! You seem to have Europe packing very fine tuned! I hope to get that way too! We are really looking forward to this trip!

Posted by
3789 posts

Ah, well as to brands, you have many more options than I do. Merino cardis have come from Talbotts but latest I order online from UK with a Canadian delivery option....WoolOvers. I would have linked to the sweater I bought a few months ago, but they aren't selling them any longer.....maybe for when Fall sales start again in August. Trousers are from a Canadian womens store usually found in malls here. They are basically my work pants. I prefer a wide leg so I take what I can. They are polyester and light weight. I sew, so most of my tops are also polyester for the non iron requirement and fast drying and made for travels. My most fave pashminas are heavy ones I recieved as gifts from the Middle East years ago......any would do, but I like the brocade heavier weaves as they tend to be a bit wider and longer and make great airplane blankets when the AC is up there.
One thing about merino, there are about three weights I have come across. The fine weight sold inexpensively at outlet stores, I have found to not be warm. They can also be in a heavy double knit, which I find too warm (almost a coatigan)....just like the three bears, the middle weight is 'just right'. I looked at Land's End and they sell them, but the reviews discuss it as a summer weight gossamer weave, and I don't think a good Fall transition weight.
Sorry, not much help with the shopping. I am really not an avid or au courant shopper. I buy what works for my body type and my needs rather than style or brands and almost always at malls where I can try them on. Shipping within or to Canada is not as inexpensive or convenient as in the US.
For your expected temps, I would not pack sandals, btw.

Posted by
14899 posts

I looked at historical weather data, daily, for Brussels 2nd week of September, and Paris 4th week in September for the past 5-6 years. Last year, highs in Brussels were high 20's-low 30's Celsius. The other years, highs were mostly low 20's or even high teens. Paris was warmer, highs mostly in low to mid-20's.

That says layers. Short and long sleeves, thermal undies, 1 pair each of sandals and closed shoes, jacket, rain gear. Even when temps are around 20, I'm comfortable in sandals and capris.

Posted by
3580 posts

I wouldn't expect cold weather in September. It's more like late summer. Rain is a possibility, so take rain gear. If you need one, buy an umbrella in Europe. You may wish for capris, but if space is limited leave them at home. If you are out in the evening you may want a sweater or light jacket of some sort. I always travel with a light-weight rain coat so I can layer and always have something for the rain. Take a scarf or plan to buy a new one when you need it.

I love traveling in September when the summer travel season is past and the weather is still mild.

Posted by
333 posts

I too will be in Europe in September for a little over 3 weeks. This will be my 3rd time there. Pam (and others) have hit it on the head with layers. It could well be nice and warm in the afternoon, but quite chilly in the mornings and later in the day. When I go (Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy) I plan to take 1-2 pair of Capris, 1 pair of shorts (for Italy), 2 pair of jeans, 1 pair of leggings (can double as long johns if necessary) and a pair of black pants. For shirts I will bring a handful of short sleeved, nice tee-shirts, a few 3/4 sleeved shirts, a pullover sweatshirt, and then a couple of sweaters or zipper hoodies to layer with the tees. I'll also bring 2 sets of jammies and a weeks worth of bras/panties/socks. Oh yeah, I'll also have a dirndl (Bavarian dress) and hat for Oktoberfest! For shoes I'll have my hiking tennis shoe/boots (Eco), my Sketchers slip ons (Go Walks- usually worn sockless) for warmer days, and a pair of loafers to wear with the dress pants and dirndl. Possibly, I'll bring a pair of sandals for Italy (double as slippers in the hotel room). For outerwear, I'll have a fingertip length, waterproof zip jacket (just as I'd wear in Nebraska in the spring and fall) with a lightweight pair of gloves and hat shoved in the pockets. In case you couldn't tell, I am NOT a minimalist traveler, lol. I like having options! I'll probably check a carry on sized suitcase and then bring a backpack (with my laptop and kindle and 1-2 outfits- mostly empty for souvenir space) my purse and travel pillow. I'll wear the heaviest clothes/shoes on the plane.

Whatever you pack- have a great trip! I know I'm getting impatient for mine!
Lisa

Posted by
193 posts

Awesome info ladies!! Thank you for sharing your tips! I'm anxious for September to hurry up and get here :). I have been putting clothes I think I'll take in one section of my closet to get a visual of what I have and what I might need to get. I think a new rain jacket is on my list. I tried some on at Cabela's last week and they have some gortex jackets that seem like they would be good. I will be looking for a new cardigan or two. We moved a few months ago and I purged my old closet and got rid of a ton of stuff. I've also been losing weight (yay!!) so I need to buy new sizes. I've been watching the boards for names of stores that I might want to try out. I usually want to try on items before buying (especially pants & shoes) but I have had good luck with online purchases in the past as well. I'll probably end up taking too much when all is said and done, but I always try to really think about how and when I might wear something before packing it. Shoes are tough because I love slip on, comfy shoes most of the time but know I need the sturdier shoe for all the walking and various surfaces we will be on. I might get the suitcase out and start doing some practice packing this weekend :).

Posted by
9701 posts

Jacque, my latest rain jacket is Cabelas and it is the XPG which it doesn't look like they have any more. ANYway, I find their quality to be very good so if you find one that fits well go for it. I encourage you to go slightly bigger than you think so you can layer under it. I usually will go ahead and try on several layers in the store and then put the jacket over it, lol.

I changed last year from the Marmot Precip to the Cabelas because I wanted room to zip up over a small cross body purse. The Marmot cut is slimmer than is comfortable for this aging senior body!

I also agree with Maria about the levels of cashmere. The Land's End ones seem to get thinner each year. I got one on sale about 2013 and it is about twice the thickness of the one I got in 2015. However, even the thinner one is warm enough for me. I usually run hot - so can manage in a short sleeve merino wool tee shirt when others have on a jacket.

BTW Jacque - take a look to see if Cabela's has any merino wool tee shirts this year. I got a couple last year that were made by Icebreaker but it also looks like they don't do them any longer. Guess the ownership change has had an impact. Anyway, the merino wool tees are excellent travel clothes. My experience is that they have dried in 4-6 hours after handwashing.

To me, the way to contain my packing is with a formula, and that's mine! Have you had a look at The Vivienne Files blog? She is big on a basic template for packing, then working your wardrobe colors so everything coordinates.

Lisa, I am feeling guilty because I think I browbeat you in to packing light for your first European adventure. I am glad you are doing what works for you this time!

And YES to recreational packing, hahaha!! A great activity to do in the air conditioning if it is hot in your neck of the woods this weekend.

Posted by
3789 posts

Pam, possibly just a slip of the keys, but my wool discussion was not cashmere, but merino which you did then go on to discuss. Both do have levels of quality and warmth. My first cardigans from WoolOvers were xashmere merink blend and I love them but they are not warm as warm as same weight of 100% merino. Also, this combo pills and I think it is the cashmere fibers that were not as well twisted.
I don't own 100% cashmere to compare or recommend.
I should mention that I spent several weeks one August in Paris, Normandy & Beligum and other than the Paris segment where it was warm with sandals and dresses, I spent the rest of the trip in pants with a sweater at hand....and sometimes a raincoat. It rarely reached 72. So, if light packing isn't necessary, then include capris.
Double check destination weather history for past few years. I like Wunderground and choose calendar to get the entire month's temps for the past 3 or 4 years and choose thst to determjne wardrobe.

Posted by
333 posts

Ahhhh dear Pam, lol! There was no brow beating my friend. I was, and am, ever greatful for all of your experienced advice and suggestions. The more we travel, the more we learn, right? Considering the massive size of the luggage I took my first time to Europe, I was quite proud of what I took last time. Less than half for a trip twice as long! That was thanks to advice from you and others on this site. I'll pack similarly this time. The main difference this go round will be fewer capris/shorts and more jeans. What I've learned though, is that while I admire those who travel comfortably with very little, but I am not that person myself. I like my stuff, lol! But at least instead of checking 2 giant suitcases and carrying on a full backpack and purse, I can still travel comfortably with a checked carry on sized suitcase and then carry on a half full backpack and purse.

I'm so excited for this next adventure!
Lisa

Posted by
1179 posts

Late to the game but my two cents:
You're packing for transitional weather. That means a base layer of summer weight clothes and some additional layering clothes to carry you through any bad weather. When it's hot use the summer clothes. As it cools down add layers both under and over your summer clothes. This is sufficient for any weather you'll encounter.

My suggestions:

Summer weight clothes

  • 1-2 light long sleeve shirts. If they have button tab roll up sleeves then you can wear them in warm or cool weather.
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 2 sweaters. Merino is tough and warm. I prefer cardigans because I can wear them open or closed (thermal control)
  • 2 pairs of pants. Bonus points if at least one rolls up into capris. Pants should be summer weight.
  • waterproof walking shoes (in case of downpours)
  • second pair of shoes (dressier ballet flats? Or sandals?) these should be equally walkable.

Converter clothes

  • Light packable waterproof raincoat. I prefer unlined so I can stuff it into my purse
  • puff jacket or fleece
  • 1-2 scarves
  • Light hat
  • light gloves
  • light filament weight silk undershirt (mine is scoop neck with 3/4 sleeves so I can wear it undetected under street clothes
  • leggings or silk long John bottoms. Leggings work better if you bring a dress.
  • 2-3 pairs merino socks (works even while wet)

Optional

  • skirt or dresss
  • fancy top

FYI - I wear my long sleeve long underwear under a short sleeve top and sweater. If it gets too warm I just slip into the ladies room and take it off. The silk long underwear is so light it stores in a quart size ziplock in my purse.

My preferred clothing:
Raincoat - REI Kyoto
Puff Jacket - Patagonia Nano Puff
Silk long underwear - filament weight from Wintersilks
Merino cardigan- Uniqlo (medium weight)
Pants - Royal Robbins discovery pencil pant
Bra - Cuz she said so bra from Title Nine (works as a regular or workout bra)
Panties - ex officio sport mesh bikini briefs

Posted by
774 posts

Hi Jacque, others have made great suggestions. Layers are what I concentrate on. I try to keep to 15 items of clothing, not including undies. This is advice from the blogger Travel Fashion Girl and it works for me. I do not wear dresses when travelling as the blogger does so I adjust to my taste. Another blogger I follow is The Vivienne Files, she has some great ideas of colour matching s and suggests combining and mix and match.

I take a raincoat big enough to fit a thick fleece under it. The fleece I take is the SCOTTeVEST Chloe. I love the many pockets in the SCOTTeVEST.

Shirts, 4 short sleeved and 1-2 long sleeved. One long sleeved is a Tilley silk button down collared shirt so it can be a layer in top of a short sleeved or on its own

Maximum 3 pants, one worn on the plane. One of the pants might be a legging. I also take a Costco part merino wool legging to laze about in my room or sleep in if the room is cold. They could also be worn under pants if it is super cold but I have not needed to. I have slept in the before.

For sleeping, a bamboo loose tee shirt and a pair of Kim Allen Silk shorts. This is what I wear at home.

2-4 scarves. 1 thick one for warmth. The others are for fashion and sometimes I will wear a thin scarf and the thicker one if it is a cool fall day. I do bring thin gloves. Sometimes Imbring a wool hat; I found a great one at a Paris market.

Shoes, wear one and being one.

All shirts must go with all the bottoms.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
3 posts

I would like to piggy back on to Jacque's question for packing for September. I will be in Italy ( Venice, Florence and Rome) from September 2-16th. I love everyone's advice for layering and intend to pack in a carry on only. Since it is still technically summer, would it be too warm for ankle boots? September is such a transitional month fashion wise and I would feel more comfortable wearing a fall type wardrobe rather than a summer one but don't want to be too warm either. Anyone have any advise as to a happy medium.
Thanks !!
Teri

Posted by
3 posts

Oops!! I didn't read down all the way and a couple of you kind of answered my question. Well , except for the ankle boots :)
Thanks, and I would still listen to any advise .

Posted by
3789 posts

terbearknits, Europeans are more fashionable, and may be moving to darker clothing, but Venice last September was between 82-89F. Average for your weeks is 73/56 at night. Rome and Florence will be hotter. Then add the additional temperatures for reflected heat from the city buildings and decide from there. Sure avoid white pants and white shoes as it will be after Labor Day, but I wouldn't be pulling out the woolies.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks Maria!! I agree, as lovely as woolies are, I will not be packing any on this trip! After I reread all the great advice on this thread, I have a way better idea of what I will be packing though and really appreciate a forum such as this to come to for information of all kinds. thanks everyone for sharing !!